By Alexa Devore
When it comes to fighting hunger, Youngstown State University Students have much to be proud of. Greek Life teamed up with the Student Government Association to stock the university food pantry this month. There was a canned food drive during Greek Week, and the two organizations hosted a Friendsgiving celebration at Christman Dining Hall.
Nearly 6,000 nonperishable items have been added to the pantry shelves from the Friendsgiving gathering alone. The dinner was based on the popular ’90s television show “Friends.” The biggest contributors were Zeta Tau Alpha sorority with 1,340 food items and Theta Chi fraternity with 931.
Rachel Mientkiewicz, president of iPal, an international student organization, said it’s important for students to have access to the campus food pantry and that many of YSU’s international students utilize it.
“It is really hard for them to go shopping on their own, so I think it is good,” Mientkiewicz said.
All of the non-perishable goods raised during the food drive will be stored at the new food pantry, which SGA took over this past semester.
“[The food pantry] moved to a bigger location, so we have a lot more room now,” Rayann Atway, president of SGA, said. “We are in the space which was previously occupied by the National Guard, which is adjacent to Wendy’s. We still have our old space, which we use as storage.”
Carrie Anderson, assistant director of student activities, said since the food drive went so well, it’s possible another food drive will be scheduled in the future. The dinner had an added benefit, she said, by helping build community among students.
“Thinking about having the opportunity to have a Friendsgiving together, for student activities, we wanted more commuter students to have that opportunity to have a meal with friends,” Anderson said.
If commuter or resident students brought in two canned-food items, Anderson said, student activities paid for their attendance at the Friendsgiving dinner.
Rose Betras, president of Delta Zeta sorority, said Greek Week has been a tradition on campus for many years. In addition to including service-related activities, Betras said, Greek Week provides a public relations opportunity.
“Greek Week is to bring awareness on campus to people who are not really Greek. We’re doing stuff around campus like singing or dancing or donating cans,” Betras said. “It’s a really good way to raise awareness.”
In addition to the canned food drive, Christian Matthews, a freshman majoring in anthropology from Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, was named Greek God, and Cameron Cervello, a freshman, undecided major, from Alpha Xi Delta sorority, was named Greek Goddess. They were crowned on Nov. 18 as part of the Greek Week festivities.
The new food pantry is stocked and ready for students to use. It’s open from Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.